Chatbots and AI

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Benefit from Chatbots

Chatbots have been around for years, developing from the ELIZA project in the 60s to the innovative bots we have today. When most of us hear about bot applications, we learn about the case studies from large, international companies. This has led many to believe that this technology is reserved solely for businesses with big pockets. This commonly-held misconception has seen many small businesses miss out on the opportunities and value this type of technology can bring to their company. 

We understand that small businesses have certain limitations compared to large corporations, such as budget constraints. But chatbots can help small enterprises to overcome challenges by delivering administrative tasks, customer support, analytic reports and data collection in one cost-effective solution. 

Chatbot benefits that can be realised by any business size and model include:

• 24/7 service – offering customers service when they want it.
• Query management – frees up human agents to focus on multifaceted enquiries while bots focus on general queries.
• Purchase advice – supports customers through their journey to drive conversions.
• Interactive platform – offers customers quick, tailored and relevant information in engaging ways.
• Data insights – collect information on customers that allows you to improve customer support.

You can read more about these general benefits of chatbots on our blog. In the following feature, however, we will look at specifically why smaller companies are benefiting from chatbot software and their suppliers: 

Advice and Upkeep By Expert Tech Suppliers 

Tech illustration.

Small businesses know they do not have the right infrastructure to support technological advancements. According to recent findings by YouGov, 31% of British SMEs rate internal resource constraints as one of the main barriers to adopting new technology. 

However, you don’t need in-house coding talent to create, update and host a bot system. Many expert suppliers can implement customised solutions, offering high-quality products, services and advice that allow you to get the most out of chatbot employment. 

Outsourcing development and management to specialists will help you avoid kinks in bot integration into your platforms or its general operation over time. This eliminates the risks of taking on a project like this yourself, as well as saving you time by using successfully-proven software that already exists.

Small Investment, Long-term Savings 

Pink piggy bank.

In the same survey by YouGov, 57% of small British companies highlight cost as a barrier to the adoption of technology. Yet, chatbots are not as expensive as you may have initially thought. Buying chatbot software that is customised to your company is relatively easy and affordable, even from leading specialists. 

The benefit of chatbot adoption here is that from a small on-going investment to a supplier, your business can save money and time in the long-run. Whether that’s the costs associated with the staff needed to complete tasks that can be run by bots, or the in-house infrastructure required to support bots. 

Free up Resources  

Staff meeting where employees look at laptop.

Chatbots are smarter than many people assume. As a frontline customer resource, chatbots can take on general administrative tasks and customer support to free up your staff to focus on other vital functions in the operation of the business. Each member of the team is likely to have several roles and responsibilities within a small business model, meaning the resignation or sickness of one could impact the day-to-day running of the company. 

Chatbots can alleviate this problem by taking on some of the key responsibilities such as taking customers through the ordering process, directing customers to the right department, or answering customer questions and converting sales. An example of a successful small business chatbot includes vinyl record store, The Edit, who accredited bots to their success. Bots recorded user preferences to recommend products and direct customers to the purchase pages. In 2016, they recorded more than 50,000 album sales via the chatbot alone. 

Chatbots can retain information from users, personalising experiences every time a loyal customer gets in touch with you. This means you don’t lose the authentic connections you’ve built with your customers as a small enterprise. Furthermore, the natural two-way conversation users will experience with your bots can help nurture these customer relationships further.

They can also be used to influence decisions from prospective customers. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the business, small companies may not have the time to deal with every customer who approaches them online for help. Here, chatbots can assist by interpreting user input data to direct customers to the right products or services. They also know when to pass the enquiry onto a live agent when the matter becomes complicated. This prevents any dissatisfied customers going off to a competitor or leaving a negative review which have detrimental outcomes for smaller companies.  

Simple User Interface

The reason chatbots have become beloved by customers is their simple usability. Chatbots use straightforward user interfaces to create a smooth customer journey from question to solution. Additionally, chatbots can be programmed with customisable personalities to ensure your brand identity is evident throughout the interaction. 

Chatbots remain consistent across all the touch points, including your social media channels. As we know, customers are likely to use social media to get in touch with businesses, especially the smaller, independent ones. These users expect companies to respond almost instantaneously which can be demanding for smaller teams when there are several requests to handle at a time.

Facebook has now made it easier for businesses to utilise chatbot software within its Messenger apps. With a bot seamlessly integrated into your social media profiles, as well as other touch points, you can keep your customers engaged, or convert them, through exceptional customer service. Furthermore, a chatbot can assist and direct customers to goal-converting pages of your website, all in quick response times. 

Next Step to Expansion

Chalk drawing of person walking up stairs.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages for small businesses is allowing the company some breathing space to grow. The chatbot can assist by nurturing new leads, converting customers and providing quality customer service while employees work on how to take their business to new heights. 

Chatbots can help to manage customer services by sorting multiple open queries at a time, meaning your company has the resources in-house to support more people than before. 

For more information on how we can work with your business, get in touch with Hostcomm today. We build our AI chatbot software with SMEs in mind. We appreciate the challenges and obstacles small businesses face in a competitive business environment, and we are proud to offer solutions that provide unparalleled assistance to companies just like yours. With high-quality chatbots that answer a host of departmental issues and are proven to increase revenue, to name just a few of their benefits, we believe that we can be an excellent fit for you. Contact us today for a free consultation on chatbots for businesses

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